Visit the Refugees in Towns website.

The Refugees in Towns project (RIT) supports towns and urban neighborhoods in becoming immigrant- and refugee-friendly spaces that take full advantage of the benefits brought by refugees while finding ways to manage the inevitable challenges of immigrant integration.

We focus on achieving two outcomes:

  1. Increased understanding of refugee integration through refined theory. This includes making contributions to narratives of how urban communities—including refugees and hosts—may co-exist, adapt, and struggle with integration. RIT commissions locally-researched case studies in towns and urban neighborhoods of refugee destination and resettlement countries (e.g. the United States); transit countries (e.g. Greece), and countries of first asylum (e.g. Turkey).
  2. Support of community leaders, aid organizations, and local governments in shaping policy, practice, and social interventions. RIT engages policymakers and community leaders through town visits, workshops, conferences, and participatory research that identifies needs in their communities, encourages dialogue on integration, and shares good practices and lessons learned.

Join the Project

Ideas for new case studies are welcome.

RIT is looking for local researchers including refugees, aid workers, academics, and community members to contribute commissioned case studies of their experiences. Researchers should have a personal history, social presence, and contextual knowledge of a town or urban neighborhood that hosts forced migrants. If you are interested in contributing a case or know someone who may be, visit our website for more information and to contact Program Administrator Charles Simpson to discuss your ideas further.

Aarhus, Denmark: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
Nordic welfare state
By Abdullah Alsmaeel | November 2018

Aarhus is Denmark’s second largest city with a population of 336,411. The Refugees in Towns Aarhus case report looks at the integration experience of refugees within a Nordic welfare state....

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Augusta, Maine, USA: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
Middle Eastern refugees in Augusta

The Augusta report explores primarily Middle Eastern refugees who arrived as "secondary" migrants to a small town in Maine.

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Austin, Texas, USA: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
Syrian refugees living in Austin
By May Mzayek | June 2018

The Austin case study looks at Syrian refugees living in the deep American southwest, and how their wellbeing impacts their experiences with integration.

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Belgrade, Serbia: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
European migrant crisis in Belgrade

The Belgrade case study explores the relationship between the European migrant crisis and political movements in Serbia.

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Cairo, Egypt: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
sub-Saharan African refugee integration
By Paul Miranda | June 2018

The Cairo report shares the experiences of Egypt's largely overlooked Sudanese, Ethiopian, Eritrean, South Sudanese, and Somali refugees, as well as their impact on the several neighborhoods in the city.

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Cape Town, South Africa: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
integration of first-generation immigrants
By Barnabas Ticha Muvhuti | April 2018

The Cape Town report focuses on the educational integration of 15-20-year-old first-generation immigrant pupils in four different schools of Cape Town, and their difficulties with permits, language and cultural barriers, and views of prejudice toward them.

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Concord, New Hampshire, USA: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
Refugees in Concord New Hampshire
By Brinkley Brown | June 2018

The Concord report looks from the eyes of a lifelong resident on a city that has worked to make itself a local bastion of inclusiveness against anti-immigrant rhetoric at the national level.

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Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
vulnerabilities of urban refugees

This report examines the vulnerabilities of urban refugees, and the difficulties they encounter in accessing basic services in Dar Es Salaam.

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Delhi, India: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
refugees in Delhi
By Protiti Roy | April 2018

The Delhi case study report considers food as an element of social and economic integration.

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East Boston, Massachusetts, USA: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
integration of Latin American immigrants
By Sharon Granados Mahato | June 2018

The East Boston report explores a rapidly changing neighborhood that is being transformed both by immigration (largely from Hispanic populations), and by gentrification including the skyrocketing cost of rent, particularly along certain streets.

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Hamburg, Germany: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
Germany's refugee housing policy
By Jessica Sadye Wolff | April 2018

The Hamburg case study report focuses on the domain of housing in integration.

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Jalalabad, Afghanistan: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
By Wali Mohammad Kandiwal | October 2018

This case report explores the challenges faced by Afghan refugees who had been living in Pakistan and returned to Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan. It explores the returnees’ experience of reintegration...

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Sultanbeyli, Istanbul: A Case Study of Refugees in Towns
refugee integration in Istanbul
By Zeynep Balcioglu | April 2018

The Sultanbeyli, Istanbul case study report focuses on social capital as a resource for integration of Syrian refugees.

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Cities of Refuge
cities of refuge
By World Bank, Karen Jacobsen | October 2017

This policy note focuses on urban forced displacement from the perspective of receiving towns and cities.

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“Refugees in towns: experiences of integration” in Forced Migration Review (FMR 56, October 2017)

by Karen Jacobsen

In countries of first asylum, transit and destination it is increasingly towns and cities that are absorbing refugees. We must look at what is happening at a local level to better understand urban integration as a process shared by refugees and host communities alike.

Read the article here.

Find the full table of contents of this issue of FMR here.

Webinar: Integration in developing cities – Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Delhi
May 2018

This webinar recording shares findings from three Refugees in Towns cases exploring local experiences with integration in developing cities: Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, and Delhi. The webinar features local...

Webinar: Integration on the Balkans route from Istanbul to Belgrade to Hamburg
May 2018

This webinar recording shares the findings from three Refugees in Towns cases exploring local experiences with integration in three cities along the Balkans migrant route: Istanbul as a source city,...